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Cable Lacing Tutorial (a.k.a. Cable Stitching, Cable Sewing)

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Introductory Blabla

When doing research for my builds earlier this year, I started to look into alternatives

to zip ties. I absolutely love good cable management, but I am not fond of zip ties.

They don't look nice IMO (personal taste, I will admit), they can damage a wire's

mantle or the sleeving because it is very easy to overtighten them, and they are incredibly

wasteful since most of the time a big chunk of plastic is cut off and discarded.

After lots of googling I eventually stumbled upon the precursor to zip ties: Cable lacing.

It is still used in quite a few places from what I've read, for example NASA lace

the wires and cables on their spacecraft and you may still learn how to do this if

you work in the telecom industry. I've also found a US Navy manual on cable lacing

techniques, so presumably it's also used in marine environments, at least to some

extent.

In any case, it took me a while to find suitable information on this, but eventually

I found a NASA manual, that Navy handbook I mentioned, a youtube vid and a few other

tidbits here and there, and I pieced together a technique which works for me when it

comes to managing my PC cables.

Part 1 - Lacing a Double Layer Cable

The audio is a bit on the low side, sorry about that, but if you turn up the volume

it should still work for you I hope. I'm still very inexperienced when it comes to

vid processing, but you live and learn. :)

To give you a better impression of how this can look in the end, here is a shot of

the main wire loom for HELIOS, my current passion project:

aw--helios--2013-07-06--04--main-cables.

And mounted into the build:

aw--helios--2013-07-06--06--cables-with-

Part 2 - Lacing Small Wire Bundles

I would have really liked to do a vid on this as well, but at the moment time just

doesn't permit that, so here it is in picture form. I hope it is somewhat understandable

nonetheless, otherwise feel free to ask for clarifications.

I didn't actually know what this knot was called until I did some digging and found

out that it's a sort of whipping knot, to be specific the common whipping if I have

understood things correctly.

It's not very complicated but not necessarily obvious just from looking at it.

Also, it's the same knot I'm using to make the sleeving ends on HELIOS' wires:

aw--helios--2013-06-16--13--unwanted-col

You can find a tutorial for a variation of this knot here. However, since I only found

that website after already having taken my pics I thought I might as well upload

them anyway. ;)

So, here we go:

A loop...

aw--lacing--2013-10-05--01--whipping.jpe

...and around the bundle which you wish to lace, over the original loop.

aw--lacing--2013-10-05--02--whipping.jpe

Press down where the two ends cross and hold tight.

aw--lacing--2013-10-05--03--whipping.jpe

Then wind the red end around the bundle as many times as you deem

necessary. I usually do at least a dozen loops.

aw--lacing--2013-10-05--04--whipping.jpe

Thread the end which you have been looping around the bundle through

the loop from step one on the side towards which you were looping (it sounds

a lot more convoluted than it actually is, just put the end, now yellow, through

the original loop).

aw--lacing--2013-10-05--05--whipping.jpe

Pull on the other end...

aw--lacing--2013-10-05--06--whipping.jpe

...and tighten the original loop until it slips under all those loops

you did around the bundle. Then pull on both ends and tighten things down,

aw--lacing--2013-10-05--07--whipping.jpe

which should give you this result. Cut off the ends as close to the package

as possible and you have a clean looking knot. :)

aw--lacing--2013-10-05--08--whipping.jpe

I hope this is somewhat understandable together with the additional websites,

otherwise don't hesitate to ask for clarifications. :)

It's really not a very complex knot, just a non-obvious one IME.

I hope I've put this in the right forum section, and wish you happy lacing adventures. :)

Cheers,

-aw

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Very nice. I was actually looking at trying to do this for my current project, to help keep the cables flat on the back of the motherboard tray, and found your video last night :)

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WOW! Those look really nice!

Thanks for the tutorial.

 

Thanks! Glad to help. :)

 

Nice Man - You are giving me Cable envy! :P

 

Hehe, no reason for envy, you can do this yourself (that's kinda the point of a

tutorial, is it not? :D ).

 

Very nice. I was actually looking at trying to do this for my current project, to help keep the cables flat on the back of the motherboard tray, and found your video last night :)

Cool, thanks! Have fun! :)

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I've always loved the look of a classically laced bundle of wires. Thanks for posting this! It's been shared on the Fan page.

 

https://www.facebook.com/TheModZoo/posts/456486854467792

 

The first picture I saw related to lacing cables was of some old telecom switch

room or something like that, it looked totally and utterly awesome. So, naturally

my mind went "I need that!" :D

Awesome, thanks! :)

 

Good tutorial.  Thank you. :)

And thank you! :)

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I done cable sewing in my build too, can check out the end results of it for those who are interested. It can turn out pretty good if you are willing to spend time on it. I followed the guide from OCN.net though but nevertheless good job :)

 

http://themodzoo.com/forum/index.php?/topic/427-project-balrog/page-6

Very nice job, I love the look of a nice wire loom. thumb.gif

And yes, time is probably the most important ingredient for getting this right.

Regardless of which technique you use, patience is key IME.

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this is pretty neat and is something i would love to try.. although i had my fair share of knot tying while getting my eagle in the scouts so it seems way too tedious xD 

seriously though, thanks for the tut and refreshing a technique. 

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this is pretty neat and is something i would love to try.. although i had my fair share of knot tying while getting my eagle in the scouts so it seems way too tedious xD 

seriously though, thanks for the tut and refreshing a technique.

It definitely takes its time, especially if you want it to look right. For my

future main rig on which I'm still working (will upload log soon, promise ;)),

I spent about 40~50 hours on making cables (measuring, cutting, crimping, sleeving,

lacing). That long run you see on the bottom below the M/B alone took me six

hours just to lace. I think it's worth it, but that's a decision everyone has

to make for themselves.

Thanks for stopping by! :)

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Wow, thank you. great tutorial. I like the esthetic,the result simply speaks for itself. :)

Thanks for watching! :)

And yes, I must admit I may now have developed a slight fetish for this... :wub:

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Haha, thank you! :)

TBH I did not invent the concept though, it was more of a re-discovery of

times gone by (at least on a personal level, there have certainly been other

people before me who laced their PC cables).

It was actually a pretty fun journey finding info on this subject. Most of

it was from rather old and/or obscure sources (old manuals and booklets,

tutorials by people who learned lacing for their job ages ago, NASA manuals

etc.), and obviously none of those old techniques were originally intended

for PC cable lacing. So I went through everything I could find and then made

my own technique from the bits and pieces of the stuff I'd seen. :)

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I can't believe i didn´t see this thread until now.

 

I was looking for this kind of tutorial to make this in my rig. 

 

Great video man and thanks for sharing your knowledge!!

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I've wanted to do this for a while, I love knot tying...(and rope splicing; mainly dyneema) might be something to do with being a sailor, and i've finally sleeved the cables for my current build and personally think cable combs are ugly and cable training is just too much work, so ill definitely be stitching/lacing my cables... whether I follow the guide or develop my own technique is still to be decided, but you deserve a mention for the inspiration!

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You would probably also like using neoprene or silicone sleeves on the bits where cable meets connector, also very good for those fraying expandable sleeve ends though bulkier than whipping. You apply them with a tool like a 3 pronged circlip plier (though you can just about get way with using long skinny normal pliers and forcing them open. I did for years). Look for "Hellerman pliers" or "rubber sleeving pliers" (made by more than just Hellerman but that's the main brand). The sleeves are usually supplied in packs of 1" lengths. They are so much nicer to use than heat-shrink. They have a huge advantage over heat-shrink that you can fit them over bulky connectors, expansion ratio is probably 10:1 or better. Tool is very expensive new but you can pick them up second-hand for about a tenner if you're patient.

(Not sure if it's Hellerman or Hellermann, both seem to be in use. Possibly depends on age)

Nice job with the lacing, I never thought you could make it flat. I just bought a 200m reel of cord to tidy up some cabling inside test equipment, then found your article after deciding I'd better check up on technique since I haven't done it for 30 years!

For others wanting to try this, probably best not be tempted by the PVC covered lacing cord. It's cheaper for a reel but you get waaaaay less and it makes bulky and lumpy lacing. Nice finish if used externally I think is it's only advantage.

This is my first post on themodzoo btw - hello peeps!

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Welcome to The Zoo @throbscottle!  That is a good tip about the neoprene/silicone sleeves.  I might have to check that out, as I usually buy 4:1, but that's often not enough for connectors, or larger transitions.

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